We’re sitting in the women’s hospital waiting room where I’m nervously awaiting bloodwork from the lab in the lobby. I’ve had to bring Jude with me because I really didn’t want to call anyone to explain what I was doing. So there we sat.



“I need to go potty. Can I go by myself?”

My eyes shifted from the couple in front of me with the only-days-old baby who were also waiting for the lab to the single restrooms only about 20 feet from where I was sitting. Mentally calculating if he’d be fine going alone.


The clock ticked on a few minutes longer when all of a sudden, a light over the bathroom door starts blinking furiously and the siren goes off. EMERGENCY!

I knew IMMEDIATELY what had happened and mentally slapped my forehead. I rushed to the bathroom door as a legion of nurses comes flooding from God only knows where, assuming that some poor pregnant woman has toppled off the toilet in a “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” kind of moment and yanked the emergency cord. We all arrive at the door at the same time, and I open it to find white-as-a-sheet Jude standing there, eyes huge as saucers, and he’s muttering, “All I did was pull the cord!”  (pause)  “Mommy, why is there a cord in the bathroom?”

Dear Lord in heaven. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or beg the floor to swallow me up. I found myself apologizing to the nurses profusely and then lead poor terrified Jude back to our seats. I then began to laugh because really, what else can you do?  He was white as a ghost for a good 5 minutes. And then they called me back for bloodwork and Jude asked if he could see my blood.

Because of course he wants to see the blood. He’s such a boy.

Overall it was perfect comic relief for what otherwise was an extremely tense moment for me. God bless Jude, you know?  The day before this particular event, I had finally gotten a very faint positive line on a  home pregnancy test after months of Clomid and bloodwork for thyroid issues and emotional roller coasters and all that hullaballoo. I sucked my breath in and felt cautiously optimistic, allowing myself only minimal glee. But I also felt an overwhelming sense of fear. I knew I needed to call the doctor’s office, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The next morning, I called my parents and blurted out all of it. My Dad told me I needed to face up – call the doctor. I was brave, he said. I’ve faced harder things. I could do this.  So I did.

I was frankly extremely scared that the experiences of last summer would repeat themselves. Which, inevitably, they did. Only a few days later, I started bleeding, which I knew was coming because the bloodwork numbers were so abysmally low.

Sigh. Why?

In a way, I’m relieved to be heading on to the fertility specialist. Having fertility issues is no big surprise, in a way. I knew after all the surgery I’ve had that having fertility problems would be a 50/50 kind of deal. But that doesn’t make it suck any less, you know? I don’t know why it is that survival of the species clearly isn’t our forte over here. Why the heck does this have to be so hard?

I have  no big answers here. Shaken faith? Yeah. I can be transparent enough to admit that. But I’m going to keep on going because I know we’re not through over here yet. And I’m going to open my mouth and talk about it because when we let our voices be heard about difficult stuff, we can soften our own pain and aloneness. I’m not the first to deal with this, and I certainly won’t be the last.

I will find joy despite my circumstances.



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  • Danielle

    You know my heart and soul are with you on this. Infertility is terrible. It’s an emotional roller coaster. Please call or text me later. I want to see if you are headed to my doc. I can’t sit here and say the usual things…you already know them. What I can say is that I’m here for you. I remember the days, the tests, the waiting, the emotions. And the feeling of thinking I was a failure. I love you to death sweet friend. Please lean on me if/when you need it. and now I can’t let me son go potty alone for a while…I know he’d pull the cord too 😉

  • Rita

    I love you sweet friend. Hang in there. This is going to get better. But as my daddy used to say “in the mean time, it’s going to be a Mean Time”.

  • erin corbin

    Thanks for sharing, Rachel. Brings back so many painful memories. I hope this doesn’t come off insensitive, but sometimes I’m almost excited for people to be experiencing infertility because I KNOW that God has something SO big and exciting that will one day make all the pain and tears worth it. Does that make sense? He is weaving his perfect plan right now and there is something better than you can imagine at the end of this journey. You WILL weather this storm and come out stronger and better because of it. Let me know if you need to chat (to a real person instead of a computer screen 😉 ). Prayers for comfort, peace and strength.
    Erin C.

    • erin corbin

      I just re-read that and it doesn’t quite sound the way I wanted it to. I’m obviously not happy for anyone to experience infertility. Hindsight is 20/20 and I can now see why every road block was put in our place during our time trying to make a family. And seeing how every heartache led me to exactly where He wanted me, makes it all worth it. Maybe that’s not a better way to say it. But, know that my heart breaks for you and the pain you are going through.

      • RachelShingleton

        No need to explain. I know your heart on infertility and adoption, so I totally get what you’re saying. I feel like I can choose to have joy despite the difficulty — and you’ve just reminded me that I can choose also to look forward to the good things God has in store for us.

  • Ashley Fine

    You’re in my prayers:)

  • Kerimbradford

    Oh man, Rachel. I feel like you have a good spirit about it all after reading the introductory restroom story. Hang in there sweet friend, an amazing prize is waiting for you at the end. Keep spending lots of time with Jude boy, he will keep you laughing. 🙂

  • You’re being brave sharing your (in)fertility journey. I hope you guys really feel the love now and feel comfort knowing you’re being gently lifted up in prayer by lots of people, including me xo

    • RachelShingleton

      Sweet friend, thank you. I really appreciate it — I kind of feel like a burden is lifted just saying all of it “out loud,” ermm, or online, as it were.

  • Lauren Corbyn

    Rachel this honesty is a huge part of why I like you so much. Your story will no doubt help others.

  • Karen

    I have followed your design blog for a while now and enjoy your style and adventures around OKC and Norman (OU grad living on the east coast). I felt a personal connection to this post since i had the same struggle a few years ago. I have no magic advice other than stay hopeful — you never know where this will take your family. We prepared our selves for any outcome and thought a lot the postives for our family if it didn’t grow. We made some wonderful travel plans for our daughter! But science worked and we will be celebrating our twin sons’ 2nd birthday next week (not one of the outcomes we had taken seriously– woops). No more travel for us and a lot more time at home – which brough me to your website as I look for ideas to decorate our home! It is a rollercoaster in many ways but one that made our lives richer in many ways – even before you add the boys into it. Best wishes to you.

    • RachelShingleton

      Thank you so much for your comment. I love hearing success stories right now. I really want to be positive about it all but sometimes it feels a little daunting!

  • Andi

    I know the struggles of infertility all too well. We have been diagnosed with unexplained fertility, and after trying for two years on our own got pregnant not one, not two, but three times in a ten month period this year with IUI’s. Each one has ended with miscarriage and the last one two months ago ending with a D&C. I’m still upset and sad and hopeful, but this journey has inspired me to create a greeting card line for infertility.

    I want this line to encourage not only women but families to not be ashamed or embarrassed of their journeys. I’m still trying to learn that myself 🙂 Please check them out if you have time.